Can you make Judgements about Human Behavior?


You are on with Karlo, Anonymous from Davenport,
Iowa. Good afternoon, my brother-in-law will be
there. Oh cool! I could tell as soon as I heard your voice
that you’re not gonna be there. Nope, but we’ll have the representation. Beautiful. I would like to ask you a question: yesterday
I was having a great interesting car conversation with my eleven-year-old son; I just mentioned
that I had to throw away a humorous magazine I had purchased because it turned out there
was a bunch of inappropriate material in it. And he said, “Oh,” he said, “well, you
know, other families don’t, you know, they use those words, they speak that way, and—you
know—just because we’re Catholic and we do that, that’s—all families are different.” And I helped kind of create this relativism,
I think, by, you know, as he was growing up, trying not to, you know, pass judgements upon
things. So now I’m wondering if this is actually
turning around to be bad religion, so to speak. So could I have your advice? Yeah, well, first of all, you know, just,
Anonymous, just as the Church does, and just as Jesus teaches us in the Gospels, there’s
nothing wrong with making a judgement about a particular action, that a particular behavior
is inappropriate human behavior. I mean, you do it every day with your eleven-year-old
son, right? I mean if your eleven-year-old son mouths
off to you, momma, you’re gonna have some consequences, right? Okay? So the fact that we make judgements about
a behavior and say, “Hey, that’s inappropriate human behavior,” there’s nothing wrong
with that. We have to do that as human beings in order
to, as we were mentioning earlier, Cy, function as human beings in society. So if you can communicate to your son that
there’s a difference between a certain behavior being inappropriate, wrong, immoral—whatever
word you wanna use—and one’s responsibility for that immoral behavior. And this is where upbringing comes in, right? So let’s say, for example, your eleven-year-old
son heard his friend at school say a bad four-letter word, right? Okay. Now, okay, so you can say, “Okay son, well,
that word, it has a certain meaning to it that’s really bad, it’s not good for us
as human beings, it contradicts our human dignity and our value created in the image
and likeness of God. Now, so that’s bad, and we judge that we
ought not to say that word, given the conventions of our society and the meaning that’s attached
to it. But whether your friend is responsible for
that or not, only God can judge that.” Because it may very well be that your son’s
friend was brought up in a home where his parents simply didn’t teach him that these
words are so bad and violating of our human dignity and keeping us from loving God and
loving each other. So notice, Anonymous, there’s a distinction
to be made between judging a particular action to be wrong, and then judging one’s responsibility—or
culpability, as we would say in theology, like whether that person has full knowledge
of what they’re doing and whether or not it’s wrong. Does that help, at least for starters? It does indeed, thank you very much. Okay, fantastic. Well don’t forget to give your address to
the call-screener, because you’re gonna be getting a free copy of Karlo’s CD, “Your
Truth, My Truth.” And Cy, if I may just follow up very quickly,
very briefly: you know, in the Gospels, when Jesus talks about “Do not judge;” he’s
not talking about not judging a particular action to be immoral. Jesus did that left and right throughout his
whole ministry. He said to the woman caught in adultery, you
know, “Go and sin no more;” that implies that what she was doing was wrong. But the judgement that Jesus says for us not
to enact, “Do not judge,” has to do with one’s responsibility, one’s culpability;
judging one’s knowledge or one’s consent. Only God has access to that subjective dimension,
right? Only God has access to the inner workings
of the heart and the soul and the mind, but we can judge external behaviors and say “That’s
not good for human beings; that is good for human beings; we ought to pursue the good,
avoid the evil, etc.” Thank you very much, Anonymous.

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